Valparaiso to Ushuaia
13 days with Silversea Rating:
Day 1 Valparaiso
Valparaíso's dramatic topography—45 cerros, or hills, overlooking the ocean—requires the use of winding pathways and wooden ascensores (funiculars) to get up many of the grades. The slopes are covered by candy-color houses—there are almost no apartments in the city—most of which have exteriors of corrugated metal peeled from shipping containers decades ago. Valparaíso has served as Santiago's port for centuries. Before the Panama Canal opened, Valparaíso was the busiest port in South America.
Day 2 Day At Sea
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is whale watching from the Observatory Lounge, writing home to your loved ones or simply topping up your tan by the pool, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Day 3 Niebla (Huelva)
Niebla is a small village on the banks of the Rio Valdivia where Chile’s Corral Bay meets the Pacific Ocean. Today Niebla is a beach resort, but in 1671 it was a defensive fortress built by the order of the Viceroy of Peru to prevent attacks against the town of Valdivia by pirates and corsairs. Niebla is well-known for its lively markets, the remains of the colonial fortress declared a National Monument in 1950 and restored in 1992, and a museum dedicated to its history.
Day 4 Puerto Montt
For most of its history, windy Puerto Montt was the end of the line for just about everyone traveling in the Lake District. Now the Carretera Austral carries on southward, but for all intents and purposes Puerto Montt remains the region's last significant outpost, a provincial city that is the hub of local fishing, textile, and tourist activity.Today the city center is full of malls, condos, and office towers—it's the fastest-growing city in Chile—but away from downtown, Puerto Montt consists mainly of low clapboard houses perched above its bay, the Seno de Reloncaví.
Day 5 Castro
Bright, wooden huts teeter on stilts over Castro's estuary waterfront, inviting you into a patchwork of colour that’s sure to brighten any day. These traditional palafitos give the warmest of welcomes, as you prepare to experience Chile at its most vibrant. Castro has faced something of a tumultuous past, having been hit by a by a succession of earthquakes and fires - the most recent a devastating earthquake in 1960. But this city is incredibly resilient, and today the capital of Chiloe Island makes for a fantastic base for exploring the archipelago that surrounds it.
Day 6 Day At Sea
Day 7 Cruise English Narrows, Cruising Pio Xi Glacier
The English Narrows warrant time spent on the outer decks as the Captain and local Chilean Pilots expertly maneuver through the slalom course of islands and channel markers. The waterway is home to Magellanic Diving Petrels, Steamer Ducks, and the rare endemic Chilean dolphin. This small dolphin is shy of ships and enjoys spending its time in constricted straits with heavy tidal rips such as the English Narrows.
The Pio XI Glacier is classified as a tidewater glacier, which means the river of ice starts in the high mountains and then courses downhill all the way to sea level where it slowly melts into the salty ocean bit-by-bit. The Pio XI Glacier is an offshoot of the South Patagonian Ice Field and approaching from the sea, the ice sprawls out in front of the ship in a wide band that reflects a remarkable shade of brilliant blue.
Day 8 Cruise White Narrows, Puerto Natales
The White Narrows is one spectacular facet of the vast expenses of the Chilean Fjords. On approach through Chile’s largest national park, Bernardo O’Higgins, the famous White Narrows become evident as mountains loom in on both sides of the fjord, and one can only marvel at the hardy native plants clinging to barren rock. With only approximately 80 meters (260 feet) of clearance from one side of the passage to the other, the sharp turns of the ship, skillfully executed between rocky outcrops, are fascinating to watch from the outer decks.
Day 9 Puero Natales
With a population of roughly 18,000, Puerto Natales is the capital of the Ultima Esperanza Province. Founded in 1911, it quickly developed into a major residential center and shipping port for the area’s products. Nestled on a gently-sloping point amid spectacular scenery, the town overlooks the Ultima Esperanza Gulf and has a nice view of the Balmaceda Mountain. It provides services for the region’s intense livestock activity. Many of its inhabitants work at the Argentinian coal mines in Rio Turbio and return home over the weekend.
Day 10 Puerto Natales, Cruise White Narrows
Day 11 Punta Arenas
Impenetrable forests, impassable mountains, and endless fields of ice define Chilean Patagonia, and meant that the region went largely unexplored until the beginning of the 20th century. Located in the southernmost part of the country, this area is still sparsely inhabited, though you will find a few populated places—like the colorful provincial city of Punta Arenas, which looks like it's about to be swept into the Strait of Magellan. Some unique wildlife, particularly colonies of elephant seals and penguins, call this breathtaking topography home.
Day 12 Cruising Garabaldi Glacier
The approach to the Garibaldi Glacier is through one of Chile’s newest and largest national parks: Parque Nacional Alberto de Agostini (more than 9,000 square kilometers or 5,600 square miles). It is not only a national park, but has been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve because of its swaths of distinct ecosystems and its special landscapes. The Garibaldi Fjord itself is a narrow passage strewn with floating ice in shades of sapphire blue and teal green. Ribbons of waterfalls snake down the steep mountainsides.
Day 13 Ushuaia
At 55 degrees latitude south, Ushuaia (pronounced oo-swy-ah) is closer to the South Pole than to Argentina's northern border with Bolivia. It is the capital and tourism base for Tierra del Fuego, the island at the southernmost tip of Argentina.Although its stark physical beauty is striking, Tierra del Fuego's historical allure is based more on its mythical past than on rugged reality. The island was inhabited for 6,000 years by Yámana, Haush, Selk'nam, and Alakaluf Indians.
All This Included
Leave your guidebooks and travelogues behind and imbibe in the sheer marvel of Patagonia. Nothing, but nothing, can prepare you for the sight of this remarkable medley of landscapes. Cruise glaciers and narrows, meander through lakes and fjords and travel to the end of the world as you know it. Each singular sight a marvel, nowhere else on earth do the pieces of the natural landscape make up such a breathtaking jigsaw.
Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Explorer
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